Following a seven-month review between U.S. government agencies and officials, the Obama administration has revealed its new strategy on Sudan. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and U.S. envoy to Sudan Scott Gration jointly announced the new policy toward Sudan in Washington, DC on Monday.
According to the three officials, the Obama Administration would be willing to remove U.S. sanctions on Sudan if it refuses to harbor terrorists, honors the 2005 U.S.-brokered peace accord between the north and south, and improves the humanitarian condition in Darfur. “It reflects the Administration’s seriousness, sense of urgency, and collective agreement about how best to address the complex challenges that have prevented resolution of the crisis in Darfur and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Secretary Clinton said.
Reactions to the announced policy have been mixed. Human rights groups have warned that the new strategy may be too soft while several African leaders said that the strategy could cause a backlash. Jerry Fowler, president of the Save Darfur Coalition, a U.S.-based umbrella group for over 100 organizations, pointed to three issues that the Obama administration should focus on.
“Incentives should not be provided before there is concrete and lasting progress on resolving Sudan's interlocking crises, opening political space for Sudanese to determine their future and protecting human rights,” he said. “Second, the US must generate multilateral support for both incentives and pressures.”
“And third, we need to see substantial personal involvement from President Obama - for example, he must make Sudan a priority when he goes to China next month,” he added.